Yemen Government Slams UN Armored Vehicle Support of Houthis
The UNDP is giving 72 vehicles to an agency controlled by Houthi rebels, prompting the Yemen government to accuse the UNDP of favoritism and worsening the situation in Yemen.
The internationally-recognized government of Yemen strongly denounced the United Nations this week for handing over vehicles to the Iran-backed Houthi militant group, which is the Yemeni government’s key opposition in the Yemen War.
The Yemeni government dubbed the vehicle handover a ‘new scandal’.
On Tuesday, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) released a statement announcing the delivery of 20 Hilux armored vehicles to the Yemeni Executive Action Center (YEMAC), a militant-controlled agency. The UNDP said that the shipment is intended to back up the agency’s demining works in the Red Sea city of Hodeida.
On Wednesday, Yemeni Information Minister Moammar Al Eryani said the move would put Yemen lives at risk.
Stating via Twitter, Eryani said, “Since they have toppled the legitimate government of Yemen, the Houthi militants have not removed a single landmine.”
“Instead, they have planted hundreds of thousands of landmines, across Yemen.
“Houthi leaders have been celebrating launch of facilities to manufacture mines and explosives that have so far claimed the lives of thousands of Yemeni civilians,” Eryani further noted.
Eryani warned that the Houthis will employ the vehicles in attacks in Hodeida and the flashpoint area of Dhale in southwestern Yemen. Hodeida city, in west Yemen, has been under Houthi control since late 2014.
According to Gulf News, the Yemen government accuses U.N. envoy Marin Griffiths of favoring the Houthi rebels – an accusation they say is supported by the vehicle transfer.
In the statement released by the UNDP, the UNDP said that the 20 armored vehicles is only the first batch of a larger procurement for YEMAC in both northern and southern Yemen.
The Houthi militant group, which is believed to be backed by Iran, was able to overthrow the Yemen government in late 2014 and wrestle control over some parts of the country, including the capital San’aa.
After the Houthi group advanced to the southern city of Aden in early 2015, an Arab military coalition involving Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates responded to a request for intervention by the overthrown Yemeni government.
Since then, the coalition has carried out many raids on Houthi operatives. Recently, in response, Houti militants responded with a series of attacks on parts of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, including most recently launching an explosive-laden drone towards a civilian airport in southern Saudi Arabia.